In a bold and ambitious move that sets a new bar, Microsoft announced it will be carbon negative by 2030.
- Microsoft ups the ante by committing to carbon negative by 2030.
- More than achieving a net-zero footprint, carbon negative sucks carbon from the atmosphere and reduces the global amount.
- Although Microsoft has stepped up with a bold environmental plan, other corporations need to take similar measures for our climate to rebound.
- By Microsoft setting a new, self-imposed standard, it could provide the impetus for other businesses to do the same.
The big talk right now is around achieving carbon neutrality, which means total emissions come out to net zero. Oftentimes that comes with some fancy footwork to offset overages called Cap and Trade. Ironically, this system could actually increase pollution.
A day before Amazon employees planned a walkout over the company’s lack of climate policy, CEO Jeff Bezos announced Amazon’s order of 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian. (Photo: Rivian)
Decreasing carbon in the atmosphere
Carbon negative is in a whole other category. While carbon neutral claims not to increase pollution levels, carbon negative means sucking more CO2 out of the environment than is pumped back in. Bhutan is the only country in the world that can claim carbon negative status.
Microsoft said it will reach 100 percent renewable energy for all its buildings and data centers by 2025. As part of the plan, it will electrify all campus vehicles by 2030. More than getting its own emissions house in order, Microsoft also plans to invest $1 billion in companies and organizations working on technologies to remove or reduce carbon from the atmosphere.
“This is the decade for urgent action for Microsoft and all of us,” Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella said at an event Thursday at the company’s Redmond, Washington, campus.
Eliminating its carbon footprint
In a go big or go home move, Microsoft doubled down and said it will have completely erased its carbon footprint by 2050. That includes every carbon emission emitted directly or via electric power since the company’s founding in 1975. Despite Microsoft’s enterprising move, other companies will need to stop lollygagging and get on board.
In this video, Microsoft explains the numbers behind how it intends to achieve carbon negative by 2050. (Video: YouTube)
“Microsoft is at the helm of what could be a new movement towards negative emissions; it’s a big step beyond what most companies have committed to,” the Environmental Defense Fund said in a statement in the Bloomberg piece. “But to really shift the needle on climate change, we need 1,000 other Microsofts to follow-suit and turn rhetoric into action,” the Environmental Defense Fund said in a statement.
Corporate behemoths under pressure
Other large companies are feeling the pressure to take action to reduce emissions. A day before Amazon’s employees planned a walkout over the company’s lack of responsible policy for climate change, CEO Jeff Bezos presented steps the company was taking, which included becoming the first signatory to The Climate Pledge, which resolves to achieve net zero annual carbon emissions by 2040. In addition, Amazon ordered 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian.
Over at Google, the company is also providing important tools to help cities decrease transportation pollution. In collaboration with Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy (GCoM), it developed Environmental Insights Explorer (EIE), a free online tool for cities to manage and reduce carbon emissions and pollution. EIE leverages Google’s comprehensive global mapping data to estimate building and transportation carbon emissions and renewable energy potential. From this data, planners can build more sustainable cities.
WHY THIS MATTERS
When corporate behemoths commit to strong environmental policies, it not only has a big impact on the climate, it can also help influence other businesses to fall in line to curb emissions, if not achieve carbon negative.